Check out Ken’s 2016 picks right here: 2016 Preakness Picks
The second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes (G1), run on the third Saturday of May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
The first running of the race was in 1873, and while in modern times it is run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby (G1), the race was actually run before the Run for the Roses eleven times and the two races were run on the same day on two occasions, in 1917 and 1922.
The Preakness is run at 1 3/16 miles, shorter than the 1 miles the three-year-olds go on the first Saturday of May in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races.
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The fastest running of the race was by Secretariat, who stopped the timer in 1:55.00. There was a dispute over the final time and it was later changed to 1:53 2/5.
In June of 2012 the issue was revisited and the official final time was changed to 1:53.00, which gave the all-time great horse the record time in all three Triple Crown races.
While the field size in the Kentucky Derby is now limited to 20, the maximum runners in the Preakness is 14, with eleven going to the gate in 2012, a race won by Ill Have Another.
I’ll Have Another became the 12th Kentucky Derby winner to come back in two weeks and win the Preakness Stakes since Affirmed in 1978, and also became the 12th three-year-old to be denied the Triple Crown three weeks later in New York.
The Doug O’Neill trainee was scratched from the Belmont Stakes (G1) just a day before the running of the third jewel of the Triple Crown due to a tendon injury.
While the Derby is well known for upset winners and huge payoffs, the Preakness tends to run more true to form.
I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister combined for a $306.60 exacta on Derby Day, but two weeks later they paid just $18.60 for finishing in the exact order.
We have seen some large payoffs, the recent high exacta coming in 2002 when War Emblem, who was sent off at 5-2 topped a $327.00 exacta with 45-1 longshot Magic Weisner.
Even with short priced winners getting the job done, we have seen some generous exacta payoffs.
In 1996 Timber Country was sent off at 9-5, but Oliver’s Twist (25-1) completed a $266.00 exacta, and in 2003 the popular Funny Cide went off at 9-5 and combined with 21-1 longshot Midway to return horse bettors $121.00 for a $2 exacta payoff.
D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert lead active trainers with five Preakness winners each.
The John Servis trained Smarty Jones holds the record for biggest margin of victory, rolling to a very popular 11 1/2 length win as the heavy favorite in 2004.
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs has Millionaires Row and fancy hats, but for many horseplayers the more blue collar atmosphere of the Preakness Stakes with their infield party and all you can drink attitude is preferred.
Pimlico runs 13 races on Preakness Day with the party getting started early in the morning and lasting all day.
We give out predictions for the race each year. You can find them right here: Preakness Stakes Picks.